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A mother of two sons finds life considerably difficult on her own after the death of her beloved husband. Due to debt she must move them to Baltimore, and deal with the hardships and all that comes with the city life. Written by
Quirky comedy, tear-jerking drama: one odd package
Widow with two growing sons must become her family's breadwinner, keeping everyone's spirits up while dating again for the first time in many years. It doesn't surprise me that people have to see this picture twice or more to get into the movie's grooves. The handling is very focused, the writing gets us from A to Z smoothly enough, but the tone of "Men Don't Leave" is quirky, to say the least. Sometimes I wasn't sure whether to laugh or not. At times it seems to go overboard, other times it hits a perfect note yet doesn't follow through. Still, the overall effect of this movie is genuinely pleasurable. It's not a big, chancy movie with issues, it's quiet and small and heartfelt. There are little scenes of emotion that well up into big hurts (and disappointments like the lottery family that just KILL us), and all the acting is so wonderful, particularly Jessica Lange (a shaky tower of strength). I loved it when the German woman gets Jessica to dance, or when she gets a nosebleed while kissing Arliss Howard for the first time, or throwing all her muffins out the window while feigning basketball moves. And what about Kathy Bates as the boss from Hell? It's an erratic film (with a puzzling title), yet I admired it greatly, and it has stuck with me over all these years. ***1/2 from ****
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